Press Tour (No.086)


Foreign Correspondents' Press Tour in Kansai

Organized by The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion

Cooperated by Osaka City, Kobe City 

December 18 (Thur.)-19(Fri.), 2014


[ KANSAI: Creating the Future through Innovation ]


The Kansai region has a well-organized industrial base enabling institutes to research and develop technologies and for enterprises to manufacture and commercialize products, most of which are located within one hour drive of each other. Especially Kansai is populated with world-leading universities, research institutes and enterprises in advanced medicine such as regenerative medicine creating a large range of “Innovations”. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has emphasized “Innovation” as a keyword of the Growth Strategy, the “Third Arrow” of Abenomics, too.


The tour features “Osaka City University” and “KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”.

Participants of the tour will interview the Mayor and other researchers to appreciate the “Innovations” in Kansai that attract a considerable amount of attention from around the world. 



 ■ Osaka City University (OCU)


 “Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis”

 A New Energy Solution! World’s Leading Research on Artificial Photosynthesis



 “MedCity21” Medical Center Aiming at Preemptive Medicine

 Division of Premier Preventive Medicine of OCU Hospital


 “Center for Health Science Innovation”

 Studying “Fatigue” of Modern Humans




■“KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”

               - The Largest Biomedical Complex in Japan


The Project Brief by Mayor of Kobe City, Kizo HISAMOTO


★ロゴマーク カラー.jpg

“RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB)”

 The Latest Clinical Research on iPSCs


“Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)”

The Newly Opened World-Class Medical Institute


“K Supercomputer” and “Post-K” Coming Soon

Firmly Support R&D and Manufacturing in Japan



Tour Date Dec 18(Thu) - Dec 19(Fri),2014
Qualification Bearer of Press Registration Card Issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tour Fee Please refer to the application form
Organized by

The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion
Osaka Nakanoshima Building 7F, 2-2-2 Nakanoshima Kitaku, Osaka City 

Cooperated by Osaka City and Kobe City
Capacity 15 reporters (1 reporter from each company, 2 for a TV company - 2 TV companies max for this tour)
Closing date/time for Application Dec 2(Tue),2014 05:00 PM
■The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion, in cooperation with Osaka City and Kobe City, organizes this press tour with a goal of disseminating information from those cities directly to the world through the participants' articles based on press activities during the tour. We ask for your understanding and cooperation.

■Applications will be accepted on this page by the time of the above-mentioned deadline, but please note that if the number of applicants has reached the prescribed number before your application, your name will be put on a waiting list for cancellation.

■The Foundation may set an upper limit on the number of participants from each country/region and may decide participants in view of their past records if the reporters joined in a past press tour in Kansai, when it receives oversubscribed applications.

■There may be some restrictions on photographing and filming at the tour sites. Please follow the instructions of the staff on duty.

■The Foundation shall bear no responsibility whatsoever for any accidents or inconveniences that may arise during a press tour. The itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions or other circumstances.

The Highlights of the Tour



=== OSAKA City===


Osaka City University




■Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis



Artificial photosynthesis is a promising technology that researchers in the world are now focusing on to solve problems relating to energy, environment and food supply. Photosynthesis is a process whereby plants use sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen through a series of chemical reactions bringing carbon dioxide and hydrogen together to make glucose. The technique of artificial photosynthesis can produce clean fuels; splitting hydrogen from water and synthesizing methanol that is made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Artificial photosynthesis is a center of attention all over the world. Research institutes in this field have been prolifically establishing themselves in the USA, Europe, China, and Korea.


Professor Nobuo KAMIYA of Osaka City University (Left on the photo) has led the field in the world. Professor KAMIYA’s group clarified a detail structure of “Photosystem II” for the first time in the world in 2011. “Photosystem II” is protein complex having a key role in the process where sunlight splits water into oxygen in photosynthesis. “Nature” a British scientific journal, featured his research on “Photosystem II” on its electronic edition. The “Science” magazine also selected his research as one of the “10 Scientific Breakthroughs of 2011”.


Osaka City University established the “Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis” in 2013 being subsidized by Osaka city. The center contains a laboratory equipped with the latest devices. Collaborating with industries, it is aiming to develop the technology of artificial photosynthesis for practical use with a goal to prove their techniques by 2019 and to conduct pilot production from 2020 to 2030 leading to commercialized products.

The tour visits “Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis” and includes an interview with Professor KAMIYA, the Director of the center. He will provide the latest information and discuss the future prospects in the field.


[Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis URL]



■Medical Center “MedCity21”



Osaka City University Hospital has set up “MedCity21”, a medical center belonging to Premier Preventive Medicine of Osaka City University Hospital. The University is the first public university in Japan to have a medical center that carries out medical check-ups. It is located on the 21st floor of “Abeno Harukas”, a 300 meter high building that is now Japan's tallest skyscraper. It provides patients with the highest level of medical check-ups for early detection and treatment administered by professional medical staff from Osaka City University Hospital. When a medical check-up detects a disease it provides optimal treatment collaborating with the university hospital and local health care facilities.


Osaka City University also established Premier Preventive Medicine Research Center in the Graduate School of Medicine. The Research Center includes a bio-repository (bio-bank) storing biological samples such as blood, urine and genes donated by patients with consent for use in research to develop new medical treatments.       


The tour visits the “MedCity21” where Professor Norifumi KAWADA, Vice-Director of division of Premier Preventive Medicine, explains the goals of “MedCity21” to support healthy aging. The participants of the tour can also experience a brief medical check-up.


[MedCity21 URL]



■Center for Health Science Innovation



Fatigue may lead to all kinds of illness however the mechanism of fatigue has not been thoroughly studied. Developing preventive (preemptive) medicine against chronic illnesses, researchers have started to focus on fatigue that appears as an early symptom of a disease to find suitable treatments. Osaka City University carries out a variety of research projects in the health science areas and in particular a research group of the Graduate School of Medicine has studied the mechanism of fatigue for many years and has led this field of study.


In 2013 the University established “Center for Health Science Innovation”, a facility to research health science, located at the “Knowledge Capital”, located in the “Grand Front Osaka”, a large commercial complex north of JR Osaka Station. The projects of the center includes; providing information to prevent fatigue and promote healthy lifestyles; developing health products and services; and developing human resources in the health field.


The tour will visit “Center for Health Science Innovation” where Mr. Yasuyoshi WATANABE who is a leading researcher in the field of fatigue and the director of the center will explain the latest studies.


[Center for Health Science Innovation URL]





★ロゴマーク カラー.jpg

=== KOBE City ===


■“KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”

 -The Largest Biomedical Complex in Japan





The City of Kobe has been promoting the “KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”, a complex of medical-related industry, a growth industry in the 21st century, primarily on the artificial island of Port Island, through partnerships linking industry, academia, and government since 1998. State-of-the-art organizations intensively gather in the complex to research and develop medical technologies. After 16 years since its inception, the “KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster” has become the largest “Bio-cluster” in Japan and embraces about 280 medical-related enterprises, research institutions and universities.


One of the institutes carried out a world first experiment using iPSCs (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells). The cluster has a “Medical Cluster” area and a “Simulation Cluster” area. The “Medical Cluster” area includes “Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation (IBRI)” and “Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)” that are highly specialized hospitals. The “Simulation Cluster” area consists of organizations providing advanced computing technologies including the “K Supercomputer” and the “FOCUS Supercomputer”. The “FOCUS Supercomputer” is the only supercomputer in Japan exclusively for industrial use.


This tour will visit “KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”. The Mayor of Kobe city, Kizo HISAMOTO will provide the latest information and future prospects about the cluster. The tour will also visit “RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB)” and learn about the latest research on iPSCs. Afterwards the tour views “Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)” opened in November of 2014 and “RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)” that houses the “K Supercomputer”.

Before visiting “KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster”, the tour will go on an excursion to a Sake brewery, the Port of Kobe and Kobe Harbor Land, where you will enjoy fine view and stylish atmosphere. Also Kobe Beef lunch will be served for the participants at a restaurant.


[Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster URL]



■RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB)



RIKEN CDB, a world-class research institute well-known for the study of developmental biology, carries out not only basic research but also pioneering research in the medical field; the area studying the process of producing new living organs, the area studying the mechanism of how organs grow and develop, the area studying the process of regenerating human cells based on above-mentioned studies. One of the innovative breakthroughs was the “Cadherin” cell-cell adhesion molecules that Masatoshi TAKEICHI, the Director of RIKEN CDB discovered.


In September 2014, RIKEN CDB and the “Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation” performed experimental transplant surgery using retinal pigment epithelium cell sheets derived from iPSCs for a patient suffering from age-related macular degeneration for the first time in the world. Since human iPSCs were first reported in 2007, this transplant surgery has made a significant step to further develop ophthalmologic treatments and regenerative medicine.


The tour will visit RIKEN CDB and learn the layout of the center. The participants will also view the gallery and observe iPSCs and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells. (Photo right: a chicken embryo developing)





■“Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)”



“KOBE Biomedical Innovation Cluster” includes the "Medical Cluster" area comprising of highly-specialized hospitals offering cutting-edge medical treatments for the people of Kobe and for the people of other parts of Japan and the world. “Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation”, “Hospital for Children” and “Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital” are to be located within the “Medical Cluster” area. And newly opened “Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)” in November 2014 is expected to play an important role in developing the area.


KIFMEC specializes in hepatic and digestive diseases and offers advanced medical treatments. The Director of KIFMEC is Dr. Koichi TANAKA who is a specialist of live liver transplantation. Dr. Tanaka strives to interact with foreign hospitals to globalize the center’s medical services. He has strong relationships with hospitals in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Singapore and wants to enhance those relationships further. The tour will visit this brand-new hospital.


*Please note that there may be some restrictions on photographing and filming at the tour sites. Please follow the instructions of the staff on duty.




■“K Supercomputer” and “Post-K Supercomputer” Coming Soon

RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)



Supercomputers run complex computer simulations. The computer simulations enables the development of new drugs, better airplane/car design, facilitates better predictions of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, also allows space science to discover new phenomena, and shorten the time for examination thus reducing costs for these development. Japan is leading the world in a variety of fields including manufacturing, basic science and applied areas. The computer simulations run by supercomputers aid the researchers and engineers break new grounds effectively.


The “K Supercomputer” housed at the “RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (AICS)” achieves a computational speed of 10 petaflops, a measure of computer performance equal to 10 quadrillion calculations, per second. The “K Supercomputer” has been available for shared use by international researchers since September of 2012. (It was ranked No. 1 in the TOP 500 list of the world’s fastest computers in June and November of 2011.)


In the spring of this year, RIKEN AICS announced they have started making a new supercomputer temporarily called the “Post-K Supercomputer”. The “Post-K Supercomputer” will have a performance 100 times faster than the previous “K Supercomputer”. It is aiming to start operation of the “Post-K Supercomputer” in 2020 based on the “Flagship Project 2020” set up by the “Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology”. RIKEN AICS will also house the “Post-K Supercomputer” in its building as well as the “K Supercomputer”.







Dec 18(Thu)

Start of the tour at Shin-Osaka Station

[Press Activity] Osaka City University (Sugimoto Campus)
1 Briefing on characteristics of OCU, its major plans etc by Dr. Yoshiki NISHIZAWA, President of Osaka City University

2 The Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis
Briefing on a world-leading research on artificial photosynthesis, research site visit

[Press Activity] MedCity21, Osaka City University Hospital's Division of Premier Preventive Medicine
(Abeno HARUKASU 21F)
(Introduction about the preventive medicine MedCity 21 aims for and site vsit)

[Press Activity] Center for Health Science Innovation (Grand Front Osaka)
(Briefing on advanced research on modern human fatigue and experience fatigue measure)

Reception at Osaka Shin-Hankyu Hotel

Dec 19(Fri)

Leave Hotel by a chartered bus

[Press Activity] Visit & photo-taking at major spots of Kobe
(Sake brewery, Port of Kobe, Kobe Harbor Land)

[Lunch] Kobe Beef at Kobe Praisir

[Press Activity] Briefing on Kobe Medical Industry City and Interview with Mayor of Kobe, Kizo HISAMOTO
(Place) Port Island KIMEC Center 10F / After interview: Looking down at the project site area

[Press Activity] RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology
(Briefing on iPS clinical research, gallery visit, Q&A)

[Press Activity] Kobe International Frontier Medical Center (KIFMEC)
(Briefing on international medical cooperation, hospital visit, Q&A)

[Press Activity] RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science
(Briefing on Super Computer K and future one, photo-taking, Q&A

End of tour at Kobe Airport